cropped-butterfly-2.pngI’m sorry you found my blog.

HA!  What a funny thing to say on a blog!!  But seriously, if you landed here, you either know me, or know someone that has cancer.  That’s why I’m sorry!

Cancer.

I hate that word.

I remember sitting in the oncologist’s office in my early 20’s listening to the Dr. tell me that while it was not likely I would get Ocular Melanoma like my Mom, 3 out of 4 people would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in their life.  Since all of my Grandparents and my Mom have died of some type of cancer, I knew my day would come.  I just never thought my diagnosis would be the day after my 41st birthday and as a mother of a 10, 7 and 6 year old.

Fast forward 4 years (October 2019) and the cancer has returned in other bones.  So here we are, ready to fight again…and looking to be on some sort of treatment for the rest of my life.

This blog is my journey as I fight to leave cancer behind and move on in my life.

I should probably back up and introduce myself . . . my name is Jennifer.  I’m a Christ follower, married to an amazing man (who happens to be a chef turned COO of a restaurant), have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer which originally spread to my sternum, but has now spread to quite a few other bones as well.

I know it can be confusing when you stumble upon a new blog, so let me help you get started.

  • I have a blog to keep track of my thoughts and to let friends and family know what’s going on.
  • You can get to know our family or read my personal testimony here.
  • As I’ve been going through different procedures, I’ve written down what it was like.  You can find a list of those over in the side bar (or down at the bottom if you are on a mobile device).
  • Click here to receive an email when I publish new posts.
  • And finally, if you noticed above that I’m married to a chef and think that must be the MOST AMAZING THING EVER, click here and browse through my blog about what it’s really like to be married to a chef.  (I love blogging.  Can you tell?)

Jennifer

Here’s what’s going on with me right now . . .

MRI Rescheduled

Apparently the MRI department in Covington decided to close at noon today because of possible riots and neglected to notify me….so no MRI for me this afternoon. Not a big deal, except that it’s annoying to drive to an appointment and find the building locked. It’s rescheduled for Thursday. On Friday the 12th I have an appointment with the surgeon to see if we can strengthen my back. I’m on a waiting list to see if I can get an appointment with him sooner. I’d love to be off some of this pain medicine.

Day 1 of the New Poison

On Friday when my prescription arrived, Tom called throughout the house, “Your new poison is here.”

Nice.

I take two pills in the morning and two at night. We’ll see how it goes!

I’m still waiting to schedule my MRI to find out what is going on and why I am in more pain.

Orthopedic Dr. Apt. Today

My appointment with the Orthopedic Dr. went well today. We are going to do an MRI of both the upper and lower spine to determine the best treatment. He’s thinking it will be a Vertebroplasty which is basically like putting cement in the middle of the bone that is fractured.

He didn’t see any new visible fractures on the X-Ray he did today. He said an MRI will confirm that and show us exactly which vertebrae(s) would benefit from the procedure.

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Appointments Today

I was able to sleep some last night since the pain was under control. I can stay on these pain meds for a while until we figure out what is going on with my back.

My blood pressure was low so they are giving me some fluids as my infusion appointment this morning.

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Lots of pain

Today is the third day my back is hurting really bad. On a scale of 1 to 10 it’s about a 7 and that’s after the pain medicine I’m on. Something is definitely wrong and I am really struggling.

I tried all day to get some extra pain medicine or find out if I could take more of what I have, but was unsuccessful. I just called the Dr. on call and got another prescription for tonight and found out how much more of the morphine I currently have thag I can take tonight. He also told me to add in two ibuprofen every 8 hours.

Please pray that this will relieve the pain enough so that I can sleep. I slept really horrible last night because I was in so much pain. I meet with my palliative care nurse during my infusion tomorrow, so I’m thankful to be able to discuss it more with her. I was also people to get an orthopedic doctor appointment on Wednesday to talk to him about strengthening my back somehow.

Please also pray for our girls and Tom as they see me like this. This isn’t something I can hide and I wish I could. Thanks friends.

New Medication

Tom and I just go off the phone with the Dr. and it looks like we are going to change chemo pills. Even at the half dose, my body just can’t seem to tolerate it without huge side effects, making life much harder that it would be than if I was just dealing with the cancer and no chemo.

The new pill is called Xeloda. It has many of the same side effects since it is a chemo pill, but the added ones to this are hand/foot syndrome (rash and/or severe dryness on the hands and feet), tingling in the fingers and hair thinning. Everyone responds different, so we’ll see how I do. I’m going to take a week off and then start the new pill. I will continue to get the bone strengthening infusion each month, as well as the hormone blocking shots.

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Infusion and side effects

I’ve taken the half dose of the chemo pill for about 2 weeks now. The side effects are under control, for the most part. It still seems pretty tough on my body, but for now, it’s tolerable, since we are stuck at home anyways!

Tuesday, I had my monthly infusion and shots. I’m always a bit wiped out from those. Today, the upper part of my behind is numb. The shot on the left side hurt going in and felt a little different. I think she might have been a little father over than normal and got close to a nerve. It’s not really painful, it just feels different than it normally does.

My pain is mostly under control. I just have to be very careful in what I do. If I do anything for more than 5 minutes (cook, clean, laundry, organize) my back really hurts, even all on the meds. Some days I just push through because I want to do something and feel productive. Other days I don’t. I’m getting better about asking the girls to do stuff around the house. It’s good for them and they have plenty of time!

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tom-and-jennifer-ovalMeet Jennifer

Breast Cancer Patient, Chef Wife and Mom

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Resources:

How to help a friend or family member with cancer
Resources for Cancer 'Patients
neuropathy after chemo

What to Expect:

Breast Biopsy
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PET Scan
port surgery
Mastectomy
Reconstruction
oophorectomy
Radiation